The first time I ever had a stuffed pepper, it was like eating an overcooked, over-sauced, sloppy Joe without the bun. I shudder at the memory … nowadays, I love, love, LOVE, stuffed peppers when made with seafood and tons of other fresh, healthy ingredients. Not only do they taste amazing, but they’re easy to make, can be done days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to cook. And if you make too much of the stuffing, just freeze it to use another time. Bonus, the whole family likes them. So here’s a quick and easy recipe for another winner winner
chicken seafood dinner.
Pine nuts—clearly, these are optional. If someone has an allergy, don’t use them. But if you can, then I highly recommend using them as they add a nice flavor and slight crunch.
Protein—I used to always use ground turkey for these but now I also make them with either chunks of good quality tuna and shrimp. When the Parmesan melts it gives the peppers a sort of sophisticated tuna-melt appeal. Tempeh is also a great option for vegans.
Bell peppers—I like to use a combination of colors (red, orange, yellow, green) but any kind works.
Spinach—I recommend using fresh, but frozen works too just make sure you get all of the excess water to drain before using.
Grain—I’ve used wild rice, black rice and quinoa. My favorite is the wild rice but either works.
Seafood Stuffed Peppers
6 bell peppers
2 cups grain (see notes above)
2 lbs of fresh spinach OR 2-3 boxes frozen
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 stalks celery, sliced into small pieces
2 cups protein (read notes above)
1 ½ cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook your chosen grain as directed. Meanwhile … if using fresh spinach: boil water and submerge spinach for 60 seconds to blanch. Drain completely—I like to use a ladle to “smash” or push remaining liquid out of spinach into the bottom of the colander—and set aside. If you use frozen spinach, unthaw, drain all excess liquid, chop and set aside.
Cut tops off the peppers, place base-side down on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and set aside.
Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes. DO NOT leave the pine nuts unattended. They burn quickly and they’re expensive so pay attention! When they’re browned, remove from the oven and let cool.
Saute garlic, onion and celery in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add protein and cook on med high, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes. When done, pour into large mixing bowl, add spinach, pine nuts, protein, grain, 1 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir until fully mixed.
Arrange peppers in baking dish and one at a time, stuff until they’re completely full. Top each stuffed pepper with a bit of Parmesan. Make a tin foil “tent” over the top and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove tinfoil, bake an additional 5 minutes, or until Parmesan is slightly browned. And that’s it! Serve with any side that floats your boat … we usually opt for some kind of crusty bread and call it good. Enjoy!
A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.
Coming up NEXT on the blog … all things halibut and grouper. Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews | @shaunanosler
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox